Today at 22.54 58” local time (20.54 UTC), Maserati Multi 70 crossed in first place the finish line of the 39th Rolex Middle Sea Race, covering the 606 miles of the historical Maltese regatta in 2 days, 11 hours, 54 minutes and 58 seconds.
PowerPlay, its direct rival, arrived second in 2 days, 13 hours, 36 minutes and 48 seconds.
Giovanni Soldini and Maserati Multi 70 crossed the start line in the Grand Harbour in Malta on Saturday October 20th at 11.00 local time (09.00 UTC) with a 15 knots wind from North-East and headed right away towards Sicily.
After passing Capo Passero, during the tacking race with PowerPlay, Maserati Multi 70 had to face a damage to the main sheet’s hydraulic piston: the oil dropped in the air chamber. The problem was solved right away by the crew.
Just an hour later, sailing close-hauled, the right-side rudder’s fitting broke.
“We immediately realized the seriousness of the situation”, explains Giovanni Soldini, “the rudder burst through sideways the aft part of its location. We are sure that we didn’t hit any object and we think it’s a structural problem. After we brought the damaged rudder out of the water, we were able to restart a few meters behind PowerPlay, which regained all the advantage we had over it.”
A key moment of the regatta was the decision, took by Soldini and Vittorio Bissaro, to approach the Strait of Messina from East, letting Maserati Multi 70 obtain a discrete advantage over PowerPlay.
“The most difficult moment was, during the night between Sunday and Monday, the passage of a big squall with storms, thunders, lightning and gusts up to 50 knots. After a very challenging manoeuvre we quickly got out of it without any damage.”
Monday October 22nd was then very hard for Giovanni Soldini and his crew: PowerPlay gained back most of its delay, right before the last lap beam reach from Lampedusa to Malta, the most critical for Maserati Multi 70 considering the damage to the right-side rudder.
Soldini continues: “We knew that between Lampedusa and Malta we would find a strong side wind port tack, probably the most critical wind point for a multihull. With the damaged rudder, we weren’t sure we could defend our position from PowerPlay’s attacks. To our surprise, we were able to find a magical asset, with the boat’s weights, the leeward foil’s rake and the mast’s incline, that made it possible for us to handle this beam reach lap at high speed.”
“It was a great regatta and a great battle with PowerPlay, which never let go until the end. I must thank everyone in Maserati Multi 70’s Team, they did an amazing job!”
Aboard Maserati Multi 70, with skipper Giovanni Soldini, there are 7 professional sailors: Italians Vittorio Bissaro (tactician), Guido Broggi (mainsail trimmer), Nico Malingri and Matteo Soldini (both grinder and trimmer); Spanish Carlo Hernandez Robayna (trimmer) and Oliver Herrera Perez (bowman) and French François Robert (pitman).
Photo ©Martina Orsini